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Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson paired for The Players Championship opening two rounds

Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson wait on the tenth tee during a practice round prior to the 2016 PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy has been grouped with Dustin Johnson for the opening two rounds of The Players Championship at the new-look TPC Sawgrass.

The Players Championship Countdown
The Players Championship Countdown

Tuesday, 7.30pm, live on SSN HQ and Sky Sports The Players HD

McIlroy is returning to action for the first time since the Masters last month, and it is also his first appearance as a married man after he wed long-time girlfriend Erica Stoll in Ireland a fortnight ago.

Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson: WGC-Mexico Championship R4
Image: Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson will play the first two rounds together at TPC Sawgrass

Johnson finished a shot behind champion Brian Harman at the Wells Fargo Championship at the weekend in his first outing since a freak back injury forced him to pull out of the Masters just moments before he was due to tee off at Augusta National.

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Rory McIlroy says he's in a good place as he prepares to return from five weeks out of golf on a break which included his honeymoon and says Dustin Johnson

The world's top two players will be joined by rising star Justin Thomas on the first tee on Thursday at 6:52pm (BST), while defending champion and world No 3 Jason Day is in a high-profile threesome with former Sawgrass winners Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 15:  Rickie Fowler (L) of the United States and Jason Day of Australia celebrate after Day won the final round of THE PLAYERS C
Image: Defending champion Jason Day is out with 2015 winner Rickie Fowler

Day remains without a victory since coasting to a four-shot win in golf's unofficial "fifth major" at the Stadium Course last season, when he led from start to finish after opening with a course-record 63.

The Australian goes out with Fowler and reigning Open champion Stenson from the 10th tee at 1:16pm, and they will be followed 11 minutes later by another heavyweight group featuring Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and world No 4 Hideki Matsuyama.

Live at the Players

Sergio Garcia also returns to competition this week for the first time since clinching his maiden major title after a memorable final-round duel with Justin Rose at Augusta, and the Spaniard partners 2012 champion Matt Kuchar and 2004 winner Adam Scott in the group ahead of McIlroy, Johnson and Thomas.

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AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 09:  Sergio Garcia of Spain celebrates after defeating Justin Rose (not pictured) of England on the first playoff hole during the final
Image: Sergio Garcia makes his first appearance since winning the Masters

Rose will look to build on his excellent Masters performance as he plays alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Martin Kaymer, who recorded a dramatic victory in fading light at Sawgrass three years ago, with exciting young Spaniard Jon Rahm completing the threeball.

Don't miss our extensive coverage from TPC Sawgrass all week on our Sky Sports The Players channel, while our live previews begin with a Players Championship special on Tuesday night at 7:30pm on Sky Sports News HQ.

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